Report Butterfly numbers fall by 84% in Netherlands over 130 years – study

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Butterflies have declined by at least 84% in the Netherlands over the last 130 years, according to a study, confirming the crisis affecting insect populations in western Europe.

    Researchers analysed 120,000 butterflies caught by collectors between 1890 and 1980 as well as more recent scientific data from more than 2 million sightings to identify dramatic declines in the country’s 71 native butterfly species, 15 of which have become extinct over the last century.

    “We are quite sure that the real decline must be much larger,” said Chris van Swaay, of Dutch Butterfly Conservation and one of the co-authors of the study.

    The research follows warnings of catastrophic insect declines after a global review calculated that the total mass of insects was falling by 2.5% each year, and a German study found average flying insect abundance had declined by 76% over 27 years.

    Since the scientific monitoring of British butterflies began in 1976, there has been a 77% decline in “habitat specialists”, which are found only in certain areas, such as woodland or chalk grassland, while populations of more common species found across the countryside have fallen by 46%.

    Although no British species have become extinct since 1979, conservationists are concerned about the potential disappearance of once-abundant species’, including the small tortoiseshell (down 75%) and the white-letter hairstreak (93% since the 1970s).

    Read more here. (The Guardian UK)

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